Back to Burgundy: A Great Vintage in Vosne-Romanée

Jul 31, 2007

After visiting Bordeaux, it was a relief to be back in Puligny-Montrachet, where I stay at a friend’s house. My friend welcomed me with a couple of wines from 1978: Mongeard-Mugneret Grands Echézeaux (refined and exotic, with cherry, tar and beet juice–like flavors) and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echézeaux (even fresher than the Mongeard, with spicier high tones and a soft and seductive texture).

After that, I was ready to taste the 2006 Burgundies, which as I've said earlier, are very good. The Côte de Beaune got a lot of rain that year, so the vineyards on top of the slope, with better drainage, did very well. Generally speaking, most of the Volnays I tasted were soft and seductive with lots of fruit.

The best red wines in the Côte de Beaune were:

Domaine de Montille Volnay Taillepieds: sweet and juicy raspberry fruit with good complexity and finesse.

Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Rugiens: More mineral and firmer, but great texture of red fruits.

Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Champans: perfumy, with loads of raspberry, rose petal and licorice.

Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Champans: a much firmer wine with more tannins than the Lafon.

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or Volnay Les Jarollières: a meaty Pommard with earthy flavors.

The Côte de Nuits fared much better, especially in Vosne-Romanée. The red wines seem like a modern-day version of 1979. (I did not taste the '79s when they were young, but a few winemakers agreed.) Most people compared them to the 2001 vintage, with more fruit and guts.

My favorite 2006 Côte de Nuits reds were:

Dujac Romanée St.-Vivant: The wine was made in a classic Dujac style, without destemming. It had a profound nose of cherry and rose petals with a great sappy finish. (About 50 cases made.)

De Montille Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts: This is the second vintage from a newly acquired parcel, and it seems like Etienne de Montille has already mastered it. The '06 tastes like a mélange of spicy raspberry and cola. The wine has great definition and finesse. (About 250 cases made.)

Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair La Romanée: Very much like the 2005, the '06 La Romanée was one of the purest versions of Pinot Noir I have had. Sweet and sappy fruit with layers of complexity. All the wines at this domaine are fully destemmed. If you have not tasted Louis Michel Liger-Belair's wines, then you are missing some of the purest wines in Vosne-Romanée. He makes a plethora of Vosne-Romanée premier crus such as Aux Reignots, Les Suchots, Brûlées, Les Petits Monts and Les Chaumes. (About 350 cases made.)

DRC Romanée-Conti: Even though all the domaine's wines in 2006 were amazing, the Romanée-Conti showed the best (which is unusual in barrel). Soft and seductive with flavors of wild strawberry, rose petal, cinnamon and cardamom. A long and velvety finish. Wow.

Nicholas Potel Grands Echézeaux: This is a compelling wine made by one of the most talented and knowledgeable winemakers in Burgundy. Even though he makes 80 different wines, his attention to detail is amazing. This wine was deep and dense with flavors of black cherry and tar. (About 25 cases made.)

Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux: A great follow-up after the profound 2005. Classic Vosne flavors of raspberry and cola, with a soft and seductive texture.

I thought most of the 2006 whites were good, but nothing blew me away. They seemed flabby and juicy. I personally like my white Burgundies to be more linear, like the 2004 vintage. Many vineyards also had botrytis, which might show up in the wines after two to three years of age. Botrytis is hard to recognize while tasting from barrel. In my experience, it gives the wines a waxy flavor and makes the wine syrupy. This might be appealing in the wines' youth, but with age they develop a more honeyed and nutty flavor. Botrytis also makes a wine seem older than it is. I guess time will tell?

Overall I think the 2006s are going to be delicious from the beginning. Some wines will age well and others will be drunk young in restaurants. But overall the vintage will provide good mid-term drinking wines, with good expression of their vineyard site. Personally I will buy as many 2006s as I can find. They will give us a lot of pleasure while we wait for the 2005s to age. Let's hope the prices are better.

France Burgundy Red Wines Pinot Noir

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